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Bristol, UK: 5,500 PCs and 1,000,000 in Savings

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, Bristol is moving 5,500 PCs from Microsoft Office, Lotus and Corel to StarOffice.

ZDNet UK reports the city will save 1,000,000 as a result.

“The Council estimates that the total cost of StarOffice Sun’s commercial version of the open source OpenOffice.org suite over a five year period will be 670,000, while Microsoft Office would cost 1.7m, according to the government-funded Open Source Academy.”

“Bristol Council, which is currently running a mixed environment of Lotus 1-2-3, WordPerfect and Microsoft Office, believes it may even have overestimated the cost of migrating to StarOffice, as the training barrier appears to be lower than was originally thought.”

“Our biggest challenge was encouraging staff to be open-minded about anything that wasn’t MS Office. Microsoft has become so dominant and ubiquitous that the default assumption for many people is that everything else is inferior and that the only way to accomplish work is to do it in the exact way that an MS Office product does it. When you combine this with the idea of software that doesn’t cost money, you end up with comments like ‘if it’s cheap it must be nasty,'” said Beckett.”

Indeed, perception is the biggest problem for FOSS and OpenOffice. “Mindshare” can lag several years behind technical reality in the world of software. While the geeks have embraced FOSS, crossing the chasm to get typical people using it will take a bit longer. However, events like the Bristol migration are examples that this is already beginning to occur.

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